by Wendy O’Donovan Phillips


Marketing feedback loop

In my 15 years at the helm of Big Buzz, the most common breakdown in new business acquisition I have witnessed among multi-location senior living operators is a disconnect in feedback between the marketing and sales teams. Without a strong process for feedback, organizations like yours:

  • Overinvest in brand development only to leak profits having not fully trained the team
  • Overspend on sales recruitment and training efforts only to inadvertently spread salespeople thin, miss occupancy quotas and feed burnout
  • Overmeasure dozens of various marketing analytics when only a handful are relevant to the sales team’s focus on closing census gaps
  • Miss early indicators of occupancy drop offs
  • Overlook data that indicates precisely what’s working and what’s not in the marketing plan

If I could wave a magic wand, here are the top two things I’d have all marketing teams share with their sales teams:

  1. How to speak confidently on the organization’s brand promise. Your sales and marketing teams must be in lockstep on brand, or your organization will be spraying multiple messages, praying for results and left wondering why you’re lost in a sea of sameness. Ideally, the marketing team has an updated set of brand standards and messaging derived from voice-of-the-customer data. Marketing and sales leadership are working together to be sure everyone on both teams is fully trained to address what is different and better about your senior care option than those of competitors. It’s not enough to train once and assume everyone will sing from the same song sheet. Instead, review the brand standards with both teams at least quarterly. The easiest way to do so is by inviting members of each team to read aloud various sections of the messaging, pausing to discuss where the collective team sees those brand elements in their everyday work.
  1. Which leads are warm now. Salespeople must have access to marketing analytics that show exactly which leads are most likely to accept a call, tour and move in now. These metrics might take the form of content open rates, form completions, conversions in sales campaigns or engagement via web chat. With this intel at their fingertips, your sales team can spend 80% of their time with the 20% of leads that are most likely to close your census gap rather than spreading themselves too thin. A robust marketing automation software like ActiveDEMAND can equip your sales folks with seamless access to these critical numbers.

If I got a second wish, here are the top two things I’d have all sales teams reflect to their marketing counterparts:

  1. When occupancy metrics underperform for 3+ weeks. We encourage our client sales teams to keep clear, simple records of move-ins, move-outs, number of calls, number of tours and other key indicators week by week. Indicators are not high-level goals for occupancy, they are the indicators influencing that high-level goal. When one indicator trends in the red, or falls short of the target, for 3 or more weeks in a row, we convene with their leadership to identify and solve the underlying issues. They stay ahead of the bigger problem while we support them in eradicating the root cause of each week-to-week issue to preserve long-term growth. By sharing this valuable intel with the marketing team, they can more proactively support sales with specialized, focused campaigns to correct course where needed.
  1. How prospects are finding them. When every salesperson asks each prospect, “How did you hear about us?” and consistently records their answer, your organization accumulates a rich set of data for precision marketing planning.

Why don’t marketing and sales teams communicate as they should? It’s rarely the wrong people, it’s almost always a breakdown in process or a lack of process altogether.

If you suspect there is a process issue when it comes to marketing-sales feedback loops, discover how we aligned internal marketing and sales teams to increase new lead move-ins by 171%.

Want more tailored feedback? Learn exactly how to strengthen your organization’s marketing-to-sales-team feedback loops and attract more move-in-ready leads to your communities now.

Yes, I want a complimentary strategy session with a Big Buzz nurture marketing expert today so I can get:

✅ Clarity on the root causes of current lead issues

✅ Research and industry intel that will help eradicate lead issues for good

✅ A clearer vision for reaching the organization’s desired future state

✅ A free initial nurture marketing plan to invite warm leads to move in now


Big Buzz is a marketing agency delivering a steady stream of move-in-ready leads to teams serving the senior living industry. For more than 15 years, Big Buzz has helped senior living marketing and sales teams nurture leads to increase occupancy, grow and scale. CEO Wendy O’Donovan Phillips is the author of the book Flourish!: The Method Used by Aging Services Organizations for the Ultimate Marketing Results, has been published in McKnight’s, has been a regular contributor to Forbes, and has been quoted in The Washington Post, ABC News and Chicago Tribune. The Big Buzz leadership team regularly lectures in front of audiences ranging from 25 to 3,000 attendees, including at Argentum and various LeadingAge chapters. Agency awards and accolades include recognition for excellence by the American Marketing Association, Gold Key Award Winner by the Business Marketing Association, HubSpot Academy Inbound Marketing Certification, and Top Advertising and Marketing Agency by Clutch.

by Wendy O’Donovan Phillips



Join the 13,000+ care professionals who read our weekly insights.

Get actionable learnings to apply now to attract warmer leads.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.